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Holocaust Memorial Day
Genocide’s Bigoted Hijackers
Auschwitz, January 27, 2007

Monday’s main piece on this site briefly referred to Saturday’s Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorated primarily in Britain and other European nations. The reference wouldn’t be complete if it weren’t for the absurdities the Memorial Day inevitably provokes among anti-Semites who, not quite satisfied to bask in the Holocaust’s consequences, continue to use it as stepping-gravestone to their variously blinkered agendas. A few years ago it was the Muslim Council of Britain—still regarded as the legitimate, establishment representative of whatever goes for the “Muslim community” in Britain—declaring that it would boycott Holocaust Memorial Day. Its reason: It’s too focused on the murder of Jews (so much for the council’s “Working for the Common Good” motto). This year’s winner of the Holocaust Memorial Day bigotry award goes to Susana León Gordillo, mayor of Ciempozuelos, near Madrid, and a member of the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). She decided to hold a “commemoration of the Palestinian genocide” on Holocaust Memorial Day, a decision the Anti-Defamation League called, justly enough, “deplorable.” The ADL is right on two counts: First, to hold a “genocide” memorial as a purposeful counterpoint to the World War II Holocaust is a purposeful attempt to publicize one agenda at the degrading expense of the Holocaust (since it would be less attention grabbing to hold such a “memorial” on most other days of the year). No one is claiming that commemorations of genocides shouldn’t take place. They probably should, every day of the year, but free of the bigotries that turn those “memorials” into something entirely other than what they purport to be. Second, as the ADL wrote in a letter to the mayor, “Your attempt to equate the industrialized mass murder of six million Jewish women, men and children, as well as millions of others, with the situation of the Palestinian people is shameful.” Say what you will about the repression and murder of Palestinians at Israeli hands—and there’s plenty to say about it every day—it isn’t genocide, and it’s demeaning, both to the Palestinian cause and to the Holocaust, to term call it so.

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